Australian Government must lobby Singapore to stop plans to execute mentally impaired man

9th Nov 2021

Lawyers are urging the Australian Government to call on Singapore to stop the planned execution of an intellectually disabled man convicted for drug offences.

Thirty-three-year-old, Nagaenthran Dharmalingam was convicted under Singapore's Misuse of Drugs Act for trafficking 42.72 grams of heroin and was originally scheduled to be executed this week. His appeal has now been delayed due to a positive COVID-19 test which means Nagaenthram cannot attend court.

“Going ahead with the death penalty in this case will be in breach of international law,” said Mr Graham Droppert SC, National President, Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA).  “Executing a man with a mental impairment for a drug offence is inhumane and unlawful.

“Australia cannot stand by without expressing our strong opposition to the use of the death penalty, and our extreme concern about this disregard for human rights and international law.

“The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights makes it clear that the use of the death penalty must be restricted to the most serious crimes and carrying drugs does not fall within this category.

“The execution of Nagaenthram will be in breach of international law on this ground as well as being a violation for executing a mentally impaired person.

“The Australian Government must urgently lobby the President of Singapore to commute this sentence."

Tags: Criminal justice Death penalty international law drugs